COVID-19: Singapore reports 14 new cases, all imported

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4 min read
SINGAPORE - DECEMBER 24: A man dressed as Santa Claus wears a protective mask as he rides and greets shoppers along the Orchard Road shopping belt on December 24, 2020 in Singapore. As Singapore prepares to further ease COVID-19 restrictions from December 28, the government reported its first COVID-19 case carrying the potentially more contagious strain of the virus circulating in the United Kingdom yesterday. As of 24 December, the Ministry of Health confirmed 13 new imported COVID-19 cases in the wider community bringing the country's total to 58,495. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
A man dressed as Santa Claus rides and greets shoppers along Orchard Road on 24 December 2020. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) detected 14 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Friday (25 December), taking the country’s total case count to 58,509.

The imported cases had already been placed on Stay-Home Notice (SHN) or isolated upon arrival in Singapore. There are no new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 infection.

Among the 14 imported cases, six (Cases 58735, 58737, 58741, 58745, 58747 and 58748) are Singaporeans and two (Cases 58746 and 58749) are Singapore permanent residents who returned from South Africa, Republic of Korea, UK, US, Philippines, Malaysia and India, the ministry said.

There is one work pass holder (Case 58738) and three work permit holders (Cases 58736, 58740 and 58744) who arrived from Indonesia and India.

The two remaining cases (Cases 58739 and 58743) are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from India and US.

They had all already been placed on SHN or isolated upon arrival in Singapore and were tested while serving SHN or under isolation, the MOH said.

Details of two cases

However, Case 58741 tested positive for COVID-19 after the SHN period even though he had tested negative before. Case 58741 arrived from the UK on 7 December, and served 14-day SHN at a dedicated facility until 21 December. He was swabbed on 17 December, and his test result was negative for COVID-19 infection. He subsequently developed a cough on 23 December, and was tested positive at a hospital on the same day.

His original sample was tested by the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), and was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 infection. However a second sample taken on 24 December by NPHL came back negative for the virus. His serological test result has come back positive, which indicates a likely past infection. He is therefore likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others.

Separately, Case 58746 arrived from the Philippines on 10 December, and served SHN at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. He was moved to another dedicated facility on 20 December when MOH commenced investigations into the 13 previously reported cases who had served SHN at Mandarin Orchard Singapore between 22 October and 11 November 2020. He was swabbed on 19 December and 21 December and his test results came back negative for COVID-19 infection.

As a precautionary measure, he was swabbed again on completion of SHN on 24 December, and went home following the test. His test result came back positive that night and he was conveyed to the hospital the next day. Investigations are ongoing to assess if he could be linked to the 13 cases. His serological test result is pending.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has remained low, the MOH said, with a total of one case in the past week who is currently unlinked.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 20 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 58,352 cases – or 99.8 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 31 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none are in the intensive care unit.

A total of 97 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 29 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 15 others who tested positive for the virus were determined to have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another four, whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

The MOH on Wednesday confirmed the city-state’s first case infected with a new variant of the novel coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the UK. Eleven others have tested preliminarily positive for the B.1.1.7 strain.

Singapore is due to enter Phase 3 of reopening on Monday.

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